Five Things You Need To Know About God ….Part II
Text: Psalm 139: 7-12
Proposition: God who is All Knowing and therefore All Present is All Powerful and Ever the Same, Eternally, is Worthy of All Praise.
Introduction: In 1965 a game called Twister took off as the latest craze for party entertainment. It had participants standing on a large mat as they tried to keep their balance while at the same time reaching out for the various coloured circles. A referee would spin a dial and say something like right hand, blue, meaning everyone had to immediately put their right hand on the nearest blue circle on the mat. In no time people would be tangled up and those who failed to reach a spot in time would be eliminated. What the game aptly illustrates is that we can only stretch ourselves out so far before we loose our balance. It’s a good metaphor for life but sometimes it’s also a picture for how we think about God. When we think of the attribute of God called Omnipresence, the trait of God to be everywhere at once, we often imagine Him stretched out, a part of Him reaching out to the people in India and another part of Him here with us. Some might even think that God is more concerned with others and isn’t where they are at all. This morning we are going to talk about this aspect of Who God is, His Omnipresence. Last week we began to read Psalm 139 and we talked specifically about God’s Omniscience, His ability to see us and to know all things. We called it the first of Five Things You Need to Know About God. Omnipresence is the Second of those five things. Turn with me to Psalm 139.
I. Omnipresence, Consider the Magnitude of God’s Presence.
The essence of Who God is as Spirit is what Jesus testified to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” This means that God is not restricted by time or space, He doesn’t have to stretch out like a person playing Twister in order to save that person or heal this person or hear the prayer of that other person. As Spirit, God is present in all space and all time, all at once. He doesn’t move from place to place, all of Who God is, is in every place at all time. That’s different than the pagan worship called Pantheism which basically believes that God is in the tree and in the rock and the eagle and the river and the mountain. No, God is not bound to creation instead He freely inhabits it, He is present in every place because He is Spirit. So David says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” It’s a backwards question, it doesn’t imply that David wants to flee from God but rather that it is impossible to not be in His presence. How impossible is it? Look at how David describes it. “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” Note the italics, the words are added to clarify meaning but literally it reads, “If I ascend into heaven, there You; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You.” From the spiritual poles of Heaven to
Hades, God is all present. The Spirit of God is omnipresent in the unseen realm even as He is omnipresent in the visible realm. God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah saying the same things in Jer. 23:24, “Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?" says the LORD; "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD.” So then David talks about trying to escape from God, is there any way I can out run God? Can I ever outlast Him in my efforts to hide from Him? “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea…” David’s talking about the speed with which the early morning rays of the sun come over the horizon lighting up the dew covered meadows and pushing back the morning mists. We know that light travels at 186,282 miles per second, that’s the speed of the wings of the morning. I can’t out run Him and even if I dwell, live, hold my breath, 5000 feet below the surface of the sea, “Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” No speed can separate you from God’s presence, there is no depth or lonely place of the oceans where He is not also present. God is omnipresent in the spiritual realms, in the earthly realms and He is even Omnipresent throughout the realms of time. If we think of time in a linear way that has a past, present and future God is present with us in each of these. Remember the words that Jesus said to His disciples as He commissioned them in Matthew 28, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Jesus is always with us, always present with all of us no matter where we are, all at once. C.S. Lewis tried to address this concept of the Omnipresence of God in his book, ‘Mere Christianity’, "If you picture Time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page on which the line is drawn." God spoke through the prophet Isaiah 46:9,10 “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure”. Even throughout the dimension of time God is all present. The very nature of prophecy which is found from the beginning of the Bible to the very end presents a view of God’s Omnipresence. We talked last week about the Omniscience of God, the aspect that God is not only all knowing but that His knowledge is not an accumulating knowledge but rather an all encompassing knowledge that simply is. In theological terms it’s called the Intuitive knowledge of God. That Omniscience is closely tied God’s Omnipresence, He knows all, in part because He is all present. In Psalm 139 David says that darkness does not obscure God’s presence nor His knowledge. This is speaking about literal light and the absence of light, both are alike to God, He is as present in the pitch dark as He is in the midday sun. You could say it like this, ‘Awake or asleep God is ever present.’ Often times He speaks to us while we are alert but there may be times when He speaks to us in dreams. The Omnipresence of God extends even to our dream state, to those times when we are unconscious whether in sleep or even in the place of being in a coma. All of Who God is, is all present.
II. Why Is the Omnipresence of God Wonderful News?
1. It means that we can always be absolutely certain that God is right here. In mathematics, the whole is equal to the sum of its parts but we know of the Spirit that every part is equal to the whole. Every church, every true body of Jesus Christ, has just as much of Christ as every other, and each has the whole Christ. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matt. 18:20)
2. It means we can find courage and hope in every trial. Psalm 23 says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me"
3. It means my communication with God is not hindered by distance. This refers to prayer, worship, meditation of God and even those times when He inspires us in what we do. The Spirit of God may give you insight into writing a book, fixing an engine or preaching a sermon. How I speak to God and how He speaks to me is directly a result of his Omnipresence. Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
4. It means that worship is always an immediate act of sacrifice and the acceptance of that sacrifice. The sacrifices for our sin have been done by Jesus Christ on the cross, once for all that whosoever should believe on Him would be saved eternally. That sacrifice is accomplished already and we proclaim it in worship but we also bring what is called the sacrifices of praise. Hebrews 13:15 reminds us, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.” God is present every time we worship Him, whenever and wherever that might be.
5. It means that all God’s promises are made more sure because the One who promised continues every moment right by our side. Consider these promises: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1”; “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28; “And this is what He promises us--even eternal life ." 1 John 2:25; “ Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3: 5,6.
There are five things you need to know about God, we’ve taken a brief look at His Omniscience and His Omnipresence. Next week let’s consider the third thing you need to know about God, His Omnipotence, as we continue to search Psalm 139.